Project: Assetto Corsa Endurace Server

I’ve got an idea for a new project, which is setting up an Assetto Corsa server aimed at the budget endurance racing community. That is, the cars will be older street cars, and the tracks will be those raced in Lemons and its descendants.

So why Assetto Corsa? I think a lot of people are doing their sim racing in iRacing. I find it highly unrealistic. Not the physics, which are quite good, and definitely not the tracks, which are top notch. However, the cars there look nothing like what you see in a budget endurance race. Where are the older Miatas, E30s, and FWD shit-boxes? You won’t find such cars in rFactor 2 or Automobilista 2 either. Assetto Corsa has loads of old street cars and most are free.

Here are the goals for the project:

  • Free content (where possible)
  • Free to race
  • 2 classes of exquisitely balanced vehicles with fixed setups
  • Track rotation is based on the next endurance race on the gestalt schedule (Lemons, ChampCar, WRL, Lucky Dog, AER, whatever)

Cars

Let’s talk a bit more about the cars. I want all of the cars to be available for free. This removes some DLC from Assetto Corsa and also elsewhere (e.g. the Spec-P71 racing series). Given that the series is shadowing budget endurance racing in the US, all of the cars are left-hand drive. Thematically, the cars are mostly from the rad 80s and 90s, but there are also some cool cars from the 60s and 70s. Nothing 2000+. Also, they must be street cars rather than race cars.

To balance the cars, there are several methods. Some cars come with more than one engine or tire compound. Assetto Corsa also has restrictor settings that go from 0-100 and ballast settings that add 0-200 kg. Apparently, the restrictor equation modifies torque by the following relationship: (1 – RPM * restrictor / 400000). Adding ballast is more straightforward, but if you add too much, you can fail tech by having a car too low.

At first, I have the AI drive the vehicle to set an ballpark time, but afterwards I drive it myself to create a hand-crafted solution to balance the median lap time of each car. I do all of the balancing at a secret test track. Of course this means that the cars won’t be balanced at every track.

A Class

Here’s the current list of A Class cars. If you know of any others that would fit here, please let me know.

  • BMW 325 E30. This is one of the most popular and successful vehicles across all budget endurance racing series. This is not the M version that comes with Assetto Corsa (I could add that too with heavy restriction and ballast). I feel like the standard version is more in keeping with the theme.
  • 1985 Toyota Celica. This is the first year of the FWD Celica. It doesn’t have a lot of power (150hp) but makes up for that with excellent handling and grip.
  • 1969 Dodge Charger 440. Of course we need some American muscle to go along with German luxury and Japanese sport. The Charger steers like a boat but accelerates like the hot rod that it is.
  • Pontiac Fiero GT. I wanted to find some kind of MR car for each class, and the Fiero is a great fit.
  • VW Beetle. There aren’t many RR vehicles in budget racing aside from the Beetle. The mod I found had a stock Beetle that was too slow for the B class, but included a drift version that slots in with the A class.
  • Nissan 240SX. This is an absolute staple of the drift community, but not all that common in endurance racing.
  • Mitsubishi Starion. The Starion was sold in the US as the Chrysler, Dodge, or Plymouth Conquest. It’s the only turbocharged vehicle in the A class.

B Class

  • Mazda Miata NA. The model provided by Assetto Corsa is probably my favorite car to drive. There’s excellent attention to detail in the 3D model and physics. As usual, Miata is always the answer.
  • Ford Mustang. There are a bunch of 1970s Mustangs in the same package. I haven’t decided which one to use. The vintage 1960s tires makes them challenging to drive.
  • Volvo 240 Turbo. Volvos have been highly successful in Lemons. This one is from the 80s. Even with the turbo, it still makes only 120 hp. It’s an easy car to drive.
  • Honda Civic EK9. This barely makes the 90s cutoff at 1999. In general, I’d like to find more Hondas, but most of the models are right-hand drive.
  • Porsche 914. This is the MR car for the B Class. Also the only Porsche at the moment.
  • 1995 VW Polo. Even though we didn’t get the Polo in the US, it fits well here. Also, I haven’t found another appropriate FF hatchback.
  • Chevy Monza. I really like this boxy FF coupe. It’s very similar to the Opel Ascona, which has a little more power. Not sure I’ll use both as they drive so similarly.

Tracks

Many of the tracks we race on are available in Assetto Corsa, and most of them are 100% free. Some have donations, like “buy me a coffee”. Others have Patreon links where you can subscribe for a couple bucks (you can subscribe for just one month, or you can be like me and keep subscribing). Finally, there are a couple tracks that are locked behind a paywall. They are still pretty inexpensive. Here’s a list of 48 North American tracks I’ve been able to find. Not all of them are high quality, but most are race-worthy.

  • Area 27
  • Atlanta Motorsports Park
  • Autobahn Country Club
  • Barber Motorsports Park
  • Brainerd International Raceway
  • Buttonwillow Raceway Park
  • Calabogie Motorsports Park
  • Carolina Motorsports Park
  • Castrol Raceway
  • Chuckwalla Valley Raceway
  • Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
  • Circuit of the Americas
  • Daytona International
  • Heartland Park Topeka
  • High Plains Raceway
  • Indianapolis Raceway
  • Laguna Seca
  • Mid America Motorplex
  • Mid Ohio Sportscar Course
  • Mission Raceway
  • Monticello Raceway
  • Mosport
  • MSR Houston
  • National Corvette Museum
  • NJMP Lightning
  • NOLA Motorsports Park
  • Oregon Raceway Park
  • Ozarks International Raceway
  • Pacific Raceways
  • Pittsburgh International Race Complex
  • Portland International Raceway
  • Putnam Park
  • The Ridge Motorsports Park
  • Road America
  • Road Atlanta
  • Roebling Road
  • Sebring International Raceway
  • Sonoma Raceway
  • Summit Point
  • Thompson Speedway
  • Thunderhill Raceway Park
  • Toronto Motorsports Park
  • Utah Motorsports Campus
  • Virginia International Raceway
  • Watkins Glen
  • Willow Springs International Raceway
  • Willow Springs: Horse Thief Mile
  • Willow Springs: Streets of Willow

When?

I’m thinking this will start up in 2023. That gives you some time to get yourself a sim rig!

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